The Netherlands scored two first-half goals to beat Olympic champions Germany 2-1 and enter the semi-finals of the Hero Hockey World League Final at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Wednesday.
The Dutch, ranked No 3, started positively and took the lead as early as the opening minute of the game from their first penalty corner, which was converted by Mink van der Weerden. They doubled the lead five minutes later through a field goal from Seve van Ass (sixth minute) and then outplayed world No 1-ranked Germany for the rest of the first-half.
The Germans got their first scoring chance five minutes from half-time in the form of a penalty-corner but wasted the opportunity.
Trailing 0-2 at the breather, the Germans played with more intensity after the change of ends and pulled one back three minutes into the second period through captain Oliver Korn (38th minute), who tapped home from close after he was set up by some nice stickwork by Florian Fuchs.
Thereafter, both teams battled hard and the Germans came close on a number of occasions but Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stokmann was up to the task.
The Netherlands too had plenty of attempts at the German goal, but were thwarted by goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi, who came up with some brilliant saves in the last quarter of the game to keep Germany in the hunt.
Just three minutes from the hooter, the Germans found the back of the Dutch net but the goal was disallowed after the latter went for a referral.
The Netherlands will face the winner of the fourth quarter-final between world No 2 Australia and hosts India in the second semi-final on Friday, while Germany will play the loser of the final last-eight game in the 5-8 play-off encounter.